Browse "Nature & Geography"

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Bear Attacks

Infrequent attacks on humans have been made by grizzly (or brown), black or polar bears. Bears can run at speeds exceeding 50 km/h, are significantly stronger than people and can inflict serious injury.

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Bearberry

Bearberry, or kinnickinnick, trailing, evergreen shrub of heather family. Flexible, rooting branches grow up to 2 m long, are covered with reddish, shreddy bark and bear alternate, dark green, oval leaves.

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Beaufort Sea

The Beaufort Sea coast is low lying and subject to considerable scouring by ice and erosion by storm surges. The Canadian shelf and the Yukon/Alaskan shelf form the southern boundary of the Beaufort Sea, but they have significantly different widths and alignments.

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Beaver

A herbivorous mammal weighing 16–35 kg and measuring up to 1.3 m from snout to paddled tail, the beaver (Castor canadensis) is Canada's largest rodent and the second-largest rodent in the world (after the capybara). It is primarily nocturnal and lives a semi-aquatic life.

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Bee

Bees are members of the insect order Hymenoptera (including sawflies, wasps, bees and ants) whose habits of feeding on plant pollen and nectar have made them important pollinators of flowering plants and crops. There are more than 20,000 species worldwide, and nearly 800 can be found in Canada. Bees’ nesting habits range from solitary to highly eusocial. Most bees are solitary, wild species, but some are kept or managed for pollination of crops or to produce honey, including the non-native western honey bee (Apis mellifera). Other familiar bees include bumble bees (genus Bombus), mason bees (genus Osmia) and leafcutter bees (genus Megachile). More than a third of all bee species found in Canada are either mining bees in the genus Andrena, or sweat bees in the genus Lasioglossum.

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Beech

Beech (Fagus), genus of trees of beech family (Fagaceae). Ten species occur worldwide; one, American beech (F. grandifolia), is native to North America.

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Beef Cattle Farming

Beef cattle farming is a key component of Canadian agriculture. The four Western provinces account for about 85 per cent of beef cattle on Canadian cattle farms, with nearly one-half in Alberta alone. Beef farms make up about one-quarter of all farms in Canada, second only to field crops, while the dollar value of live cattle exports ranks just behind spring wheat, canola and durum exports. Canada ranks among the world’s top 10 per capita consumers and exporters of beef.

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Beekeeping

The complex social organization, the biology and the industrious nature of honeybees (genus Apis) have long fascinated people.

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Beet

Beet (Beta vulgaris), biennial herbaceous plant of the Chenopodiaceae family. There are 4 cultivated varieties: red or vegetable beet, fodder beet (mangel-wurzel), chard and sugar beet.

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Beetle

Beetles are an extremely diverse group of insects, which together make up the order Coleoptera (from Greek koleos, meaning, “sheath,” and ptera, “wings”). So named for their hardened forewings, which conceal a second pair of flight wings, beetles have the greatest number of known species of any comparable group of living things. There are an estimated 380,000 described beetle species worldwide, representing about 40 per cent of the world’s known insects. Beetles occupy nearly every available terrestrial and freshwater habitat, having evolved to fulfill more ecological roles than probably any other group of organisms. As such, beetles are found all over the world. In Canada, over 8,150 species are known, representing 121 of the world’s 176 families of beetles. Familiar beetles include lady beetles, fireflies, scarabs, weevils, tiger, ground, blister and leaf beetles.

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Beluga Whale

The beluga, or white whale, is a type of toothed whale found in Canada’s Arctic, Hudson Bay and St. Lawrence estuary.

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Beneficial Insect

Most insects are beneficial, playing many ecological roles. Less than 1% are pests. They are the principal food of many birds and reptiles, and the survival of insect-pollinated plants depends on them.

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Betula Lake

Betula Lake, Manitoba, is a freshwater lake and resort area in Whiteshell Provincial Park, 145 km by road northeast of Winnipeg. Opened to cottage development in the 1950s, Betula is a popular swimming, waterskiing and fishing area.

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Biodiversity

 Biodiversity is the variety of life (genetic, species and ecosystem levels) on Earth or some part of it. It includes all living forms, plants, animals and micro-organisms. It is the natural wealth of a region that provides resources and ecological services.

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Biogeoclimatic Zone

For example, in British Columbia, the Coastal Western Hemlock Zone is one of 14 biogeoclimatic zones. It occupies high precipitation areas up to 1000 m elevation west of the coastal mountains from the Washington to Alaska borders and beyond.

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Biogeography

Ecology is subdivided into 3 fields of study: autecology (relations of individual species or populations to their milieu), synecology (composition of living communities) and dynecology (processes of change in related communities).

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Biology

Biological studies of individuals and groups of organisms can occur at various levels (eg, molecular, cellular, anatomical, functional, behavioural, ecological and evolutionary).

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Biosphere Reserve

The biosphere is that part of our planet that supports life. Biosphere reserves are special places chosen to become models of how we should live with nature. The Biosphere Reserve Program, initiated in 1974, is a network of over 350 sites around the world that share ideas and experiences.